SUBIC FREEPORT, Philippines – Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporation-Philippines (HHIC-Phil) reportedly suffered its latest worker casualty in an on-site accident – said to be the 38th since the shipyard began construction in 2006.
HHIC-Phil worker Jerwein Lopera Labajan, 23, was reportedly pinned down by the machine he was operating on Thursday, September 11, instantly killing him.
Labajan’s fellow workers told Rappler Labajan was using an “old” machine and the accident might have been caused by a machine malfunction.
They also said that Jerwin, who was single, was the family breadwinner, and the eldest of 7 siblings.
There is an apparent news blackout, as HHIC-Phil management has not issued a statement on the incident. An officer who declined to be named as he’s not authorized to speak for the company, said that HHIC-Phil will issue a statement on the incident, if warranted, at the proper time.
Members of groups like the Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Hanjin Shipyard, who are advocates of a safer workplace, refused to speak on record for fear that their contract of work will be terminated.
Workers said that while the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) investigate such incidents, “nothing happens.”
“They always say they are conducting an independent investigation, but the result is always the same: Hanjin workers keep dying, and Hanjin itself is not penalized,” the source said.
HHIC-Phil was the subject of a Senate investigation for the series of fatal accidents in the site, then numbering 32 from 2006 to 2009.
Workers have complained of the absence of a hospital on site for emergencies, since the nearest hospital is 45 minutes away, and also the frequency of non-fatal accidents among workers. – Rappler.com
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